Fowler’s coaching run comes to an end
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
March 10, 2012 12:41 AM | 2852 views | 10 10 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillgrove coach Sheryl Fowler looks at the scoreboard as she inserts her final substitutions in Friday’s game.
<BR>Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Hillgrove coach Sheryl Fowler looks at the scoreboard as she inserts her final substitutions in Friday’s game.
Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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DULUTH — Sheryl Fowler is looking forward to a life of travel and playing golf.

After leading Hillgrove to a 26-5 record and an appearance in the Class AAAAA state championship game, Fowler is calling it a career after 30 seasons on the bench.

The Cobb County native spent her first seven years at the original Campbell High School, then 16 years at McEachern before wrapping up the final six years of her career with the Lady Hawks.

Fowler never won a state championship, but after two appearances in the state finals, four trips to the semifinals and racking up 568 victories, there’s nothing for her to be ashamed of.

The veteran mentor coached her final game Friday against her former McEachern team in the Class AAAAA state championship. After making a third-quarter surge to get within striking range, the Lady Hawks fell 69-36 to the undefeated Lady Indians (33-0), a team that may have made a strong case at finishing as the nation’s top-ranked team.

“She has always distinguished herself as a great coach, and we hated to see her go,” McEachern athletic director Jimmy Dorsey said. “What she and (current McEachern coach) Phyllis (Arthur) have been able to do with girls basketball (at McEachern) is a testament to both of them. Since she’s retiring, I’m happy she got a chance to end her career in a state championship game.”

Fowler is known for building teams and dedicates many hours working with varsity players and youngsters. She’s a fundamental coach who emphasizes the basics of dribbling, shooting, rebounding and passing.

Fowler applied the simple basics when she was hired to rebuild the McEachern program in 1990. She turned the Lady Indians into a regular 20-win team and ended her stay at McEachern with nine straight postseason appearances.

“When I first took the McEachern job (in 2006), I heard they had gone to state nine years in a row. That made me nervous and wanted to go to state,” Arthur said. “I remember telling the girls that we’re not going to be the ones that mess it up.”

Fowler then made the short move to the northern end of Powder Springs and launched Hillgrove’s program, and it was her final two years that were arguably her best. After the Lady Hawks joined the Class AAAAA ranks in 2010, they made two deep playoff runs — to the quarterfinals last season and the state championship this year.

Much of that had to do with the development of Hillgrove’s current senior class.

Celina Rodrigo, Meredith Heyer, Maisie Steed and Maurissa Lester were starters who grew up playing together, and that contributed heavily to Hillgrove’s success this season.

“I can’t say enough about this senior class,” Fowler said. “They played together and fought hard. They would play teams day in and day out who were better and they fought hard and refused to lose. They are winners, and they are going to win in life.”

The Lady Hawks (26-5), led by these four senior starters, refused to lose Friday after going into the locker room trailing 37-18 at halftime. They rotated different defenses to get McEachern out of its shooting rhythm, and shots started falling on the Lady Hawks’ end as a result of being more patient.

Hillgrove outscored McEachern 13-6 in the third quarter and denied the Lady Indians a bucket inside the paint. That enabled the Lady Hawks to fly right back into the game and cut the deficit to 12 points on a Mackenzie Engram 3-pointer.

“She taught us to never give up. ‘Keep your heads up through the good and the bad and play hard until the finish,’” said Rodrigo, who finished with a team-high 17 points for Hillgrove.

In the fourth quarter, however, McEachern began finishing its own missed shots and used that success to generate another run to put the game out of reach.
Comments
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Something to be said
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March 12, 2012
about building from the ground up. Taylor is in the early stages of building a dynasty with the Bucs. He has the parent support and the support from the community. Along with returning his studs he will add more role players and get the job done for several years. Check his background. He seems to create champions wherever he coaches.
anonymous
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March 12, 2012
I heard Charles Amica was going to be the next coach! He is ready!
waytoofast
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March 12, 2012
Coach Taylor would be a fine choice for sure, but he would have to say he is interested first which it's my understanding he is not. Look at what he has- heck, he just had a GREAT season and has everyone coming back, including Region Player of the Year Elise Spann (who should also be All County, All State and All Anything Else...she is a stud) and 2 other all region team members!!! He does a great job, and I would suspect for him to continue to do so AT Allatoona!
19282820
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March 11, 2012
No way it will be Taylor... Sheryl Fowler has been grooming Susan Milam (assistant coach) for the past few years. She will have the job for sure, if not Susan possibly Kelly Avery, another assistant coach.
whatdidyousay
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March 11, 2012
You said "Who is Taylor", but then immediately knew it was the guy from Allatoona?! Too funny. Not ready? 26 wins, wasn't his team ranked all season, just won a region title, I would think he is ready.
CobbOldSchool
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March 10, 2012
Although I'm not a Hillgrove fan, I want to wish the best for coach Fowler. She has been a leader and builder of many fine teams over the years, but more important a builder of many fine young ladies in our community. You will be missed by not only your current school but those of us who have watched you work from outside your team. Best of luck on the golf course!!
nicejob
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March 10, 2012
Congratulations Coach Fowler on an amazing run. You have done a tremendous job with all of your programs! We hope you enjoy your well deserved retirement!

Does anyone know anything in terms of names for the new coach? I have heard rumors from several it may be Taylor? Has anyone else heard any names? or the timeline?
Harrison Fan
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March 11, 2012
I heard it may be Lenahan. Who is Taylor? If it is the Taylor from Allatoona, he's not ready for a team like McEachern.
*
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March 10, 2012
Great Job Coach! It was a point of pride to see both Powder Springs Teams represented in the State Championship. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.
Yes he is
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March 11, 2012
Remember, Taylor was an assistant under Fowler for 6 -7 years at McEachern before going to the Bucs. A great learning opportunity I'd say. Lenahan? Is that a joke Harrison Fan? At a school of 2400 and he can't get the athletes to play for him. Without his Al. stud, he had nothing. Look at the roster for next season. Taylor would have the Grove right back in the finals.

SOme say that the only reason Taylor left McEachern was the principal at the time wanted to bring in a "big name coach". Then the principal left and Montgomery made a nice choice.
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